You can watch good movies again and again, but only great movies get better every time. Helen Mirren is getting all the press for her outstanding performance as QEII, but the writing is what made that performance possible. Peter Morgan’s screenplay manages to be at once historically specific and archetypal, using a unique week in English history to illustrate eternal truths about the balancing of power, innovation, and tradition, and he does it all with heartbreaking candor and genuine British wit. The Queen is superbly structured, doesn’t waste a second, and continues to reveal new layers of brilliance every time. I’m still trying to rewatch Shortbus, INLAND EMPIRE, Volver, and Pan’s Labyrinth before we vote for our awards next weekend, but this is one of my absolute favorite movies of the year.

The Queen. Stephen Frears, 2006. *****

[tags]5 stars, aristocracy, england, film, helen mirren, stephen frears, peter morgan[/tags]